The University Hospital of Northern B.C. (UHNBC) drummers received provincial recognition today for their efforts to support healthcare workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shirley Bond, interim leader of the BC Liberals and MLA for Prince George-Valemount, recognized UHNBC drum group organizers Wesley Mitchell and Ivan Paquette in the provincial legislature yesterday (Oct. 20) for their continued work to lift community spirits since the pandemic began.
“I rise today to recognize two very special people who have made a real difference in the fight against COVID-19 in the community,” said Bond.
“As doctors, nurses, healthcare workers fight the pandemic over the last year-and-a-half, Wesley Mitchell and Ivan Paquette have been supporting them at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia and Jubilee Lodge day after day, week after week.”
When the pandemic began the UHNBC Drum Group performed traditional songs of prayer and healing at the hospital for 47 consecutive days. The group has since switched to performing only on Monday nights, as the pandemic continued, but the group hasn’t stopped for over 19 months.
“Wesley and Ivan wanted to find a visible way to show healthcare workers that they were appreciated and supported, since the pandemic began these two inspirational leaders have been joined by dozens of other drummers now called the UHNBC drum group as they gathered outside the hospital to drum and raise the spirit of healthcare workers and patients struggling with the virus,” said Bond.
“The scene is a powerful one, drumming and singing traditional songs of prayer and healing for those working tirelessly, those suffering and even those who have lost their loved ones. If you attend you can look up seeing doctors, nurses, patients in the windows gaining strength from the beating of the drum and the songs shared from the heat. “
On March 27 the group celebrated it’s one-year anniversary with a celebration attended by former Lheidli T’enneh Dayi Clay Pountney, Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall, RCMP, BC Ambulance and the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North.
“The UHNBC drum group has been at the hospital in wind, rain, sleet and snow, freezing temperatures over the past 19 months. Their goal was to bring a bit of positivity and hope and they have done that and so much more,” said Bond.
“Wesley and Ivan and all that have drummed with you thank you for your dedication and passion and your heart. You will likely never know the full impact of your actions but we know you have made a difference when we needed it most. Together you have brought comfort, kindness, and care and long after the pandemic ends the gifts you have given to so many will never be forgotten.”
The group continues to perform weekly at UHNBC every Monday night starting at 6 p.m. and you can find out more through the UHNBC Monday Night Drum Group Facebook page.